Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Don't trust everything you read on blogs and Pinterest.

Mistakes happen. some big, some little and some... in decor!  I always hate those ones.  I hate them even more when I have found several ideas on Pinterest and I get all excited and run out and start my own DIY only to later discover they weren't all that they were cracked up to be- or all I thought they would be when I researched all about it! Such a bummer. However... sometimes a DIY gone wrong can lead to something even better.  (Also true in life.  Sometimes a bad situation can lead to something better.  You just never know.) (grin)
I got so excited after seeing a bunch of DIY advice on using foam core insulation boards for making an inspiration board like I did (and shared) a few posts back. (I even deleted the post because I don't want to steer anyone else wrong.)  I went right out and got my slab of foam core board and cheered because it was so inexpensive.  (I suppose that's the one good part about this post- it wasn't a costly mistake.)  Once assembled it looked so pretty and I just knew I would use it a ton. 

Then, two nights after it was finished, I heard a crash and discovered that the tacks weren't holding and things were falling off and slipping out of holes.  Apparently foam core isn't quite as much like cork board as I'd been assured.  Huh.  Well, I'll be darned. After trying to make it work for a month, I realized that it was time to cut my losses on this one because I didn't need to add any more frustration to my life.  Inspiration boards that create frustration don't er... inspire.  So, after thinking about it long and hard, I ditched it, and after a few tears (I'm just kidding) I strung up my calendar (sourced locally) with twine and thumb tacks and some little curtain clips I had in my junk drawer, & changed a few things back around until all was well again.

(This is the other chair in our office area- I am considering using this Ikea rug to cover the seat but for now it's just sitting on it so I can decide if I like the look.  It normally sits at our computer desk.)
After a few days of admiring all the little gold foil in the calendar, it inspired me to think about painting an old string of cafe lights with gold spray paint.  You know how one thing leads to another. I miss the inspiration board but once I jumped in with both feet on these lights I just KNEW that was the icing on the cake... it changed everything and suddenly I was so happy again.  Just a little tweak.  Who knew.  (Sign is from here.)

To spray paint the lights, I simply unscrewed cafe light bulbs from the sockets (found at Target last year) and set them aside.  I stuffed each socket with a small part of a cotton ball.  Then I laid them out on a drop cloth and sprayed them with gold metallic spray paint on one side, then once dry carefully flipped and arranged it to get the other side.  It was simple and fairly quick and one can did the trick. I'm missing a few bulbs but hey, aren't we all?  Heh heh.

Then I bought a new lamp because I needed one on this desk. (Target)  I feel plenty inspired to create in here, with the strung up calendar pages, my kiddo silhouettes, and those cozy lights. (One instagram friend suggested crisscrossing ribbons if anyone else has one out of foam core.)

Change ups in late January... not always a bad thing. 
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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Paper Hearts {And a FREEBIE print for you!}



Years ago I met Courtney Walsh via the internet and we've texted and emailed and poured out hearts out to one another through moves and life changes during that time.  She is a precious woman and when she contacted me with a list of quotes and meaningful passages from her newest novel and asked me to create a custom watercolor for it's release, I jumped at the chance! So... I'm here today to share the new release of her novel, Paper Hearts.


About the book: Abigail Pressman would never have guessed that love notes penned on paper hearts by an anonymous couple could restore her belief in love. As a business owner in a quaint town at the base of the Rockies, she’s poured everything into dreams of expansion . . . and resisting the matchmaking efforts of the Valentine Volunteers, who gather in her store to continue Loves Park’s tradition of stamping mail with the city’s romantic postmark.

When Abigail is unwillingly drafted into the Volunteers, she encounters the paper hearts, a distraction that couldn’t come at a worse time. A hard-to-read doctor has become Abigail’s new landlord, and he’s threatening to end her lease to expand his practice.

As she fights a growing attraction to this handsome man crushing her dreams, Abigail is inspired to string the hearts in her store, sparking a citywide infatuation with the artsy trend. But when a new batch of hearts reaches the Volunteers, it appears something tragic has happened to the couple. Will uncovering their story confirm Abigail’s doubts about love, or could it rescue her dreams . . . and her heart?

Don't you love cozy-sounding books like this, that you can cuddle up with during the winter weekends?  You can get your copy here, here or here.

AND... that watercolor that I made so you can download & print out for FREE... can be found over on Courney's blog, here!  I loved the verse and when I saw it in her list of book-related quotes/verses, it was the one that grabbed me.  In thinking about relationships, it is always the promise that someone will never leave that makes all the difference.  We have all probably experienced loss of a loved one whether through death, divorce, or even relational issues and knowing that God Himself will never leave and will love us steadfastly gives us the ultimate hope to keep going.  It felt fitting as a Valentine's focus to remember that His love endures forever so I chose this verse from Courney's list and I hope you love it too! 

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Responses

I must respond to you guys over my previous post. My inbox has swelled up with private messages, heart wrenching stories, encouragements and empathy. While it grieves me that so many of us are barely keeping our heads up in the waters of relationships, it encourages me that we are able to relate and come alongside one another in encouragement to keep one another afloat. 

While sifting through all the nuggets of truth and honesty from you all, I narrowed ALL of this encouragement down to these bullet points for myself... but I am sure it can serve to encourage each of us so I'll share, because that's what we're here to do right? The stories came from women of all ages and stages. We all seem to get one another and I'm grateful, more than I can say. I hope this encourages us all:

*Be understanding. Sometimes we react to misunderstandings with hurt feelings and that cause a spin cycle of more hurt. 
*Be quick to forgive. This one covers all the hurts, not that they won't still be in your memory but they don't have to rule you OR how you approach future relationships. But it must be intentional and specific if you know the areas that you're sensitive in. 
*Be outwardly focused. Remember that life is not all about us or what others pour into us... it's about what we pour into others and sometimes yes, relationships wane or end. Accept that God might have planned that and while you're riding the roller coaster of figuring if that's His will for the relationship or not, actively seek to bless others and be there for them. (Yet keep those boundaries in tact if there's a relationship that takes and drains. Keep yourself healthy while being focused on being a blessing!) 
 *Don't give up. Life is ever changing, as are the cycles of friendships and a lonely day today may lead to a bosom friend tomorrow. You just never know. 
*Realize you're not alone in these feelings. Nearly every single woman has a story and can nod her head when you tell yours, and even if no woman on the planet gets your hurt... God holds every tear you have ever shed, in His palm
 *Don't hold out for specific types of relationships. Seek out those before you and behind you and figure out how you can do life together where they are at. 

I think that represents the majority of the collective wisdom and encouragement that I have gleaned from your emails and comments so far.  I can't tell you how it has helped focus me personally back on track and I love you dearly for it. 

God is for us and He desires us to have relationships so that He can be reflected in our love for one another. 

So let's do that. 
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{I will be sharing something SWEET on Tuesday that I think you're going to love- hint... it will include a free printable watercolor from me so please check back for details on Tuesday!}

{Also for those of you who read these posts on Facebook... I'm not there any longer.  I might return one day, but I needed to close it down so that's what I did.  I'm sorry for any inconvenience that caused but thank you for stopping in here to read!}

Saturday, January 24, 2015

I always wonder if other people feel like this...

It's been a while since a wild heart outpouring on here but I'm feeling it today... and not even any photos.  Gasp!

I crawl inside my head sometimes and poke around at things that have settled into the corners, stirring up dust and coughing while I try and sort through the dried bits and cobwebs.  What I often come up with is a treasure or something that simply needs a bit of polish to return to it's former shine.  I'm hoping this is one of those days but I'm processing as I write.  (Also similar to real life where I process while I talk "it out.") (Which incidentally probably freaked my introverted husband when we first began until he figured that one out!)

The point.  I'm dying of loneliness over here!  Many years ago, we were blessed with one of those rare groups of friends where the kids were all the same ages, the hubbies got along great and hung out by the BBQ together, and the women... well we loved deeply.  We scheduled playdates, planned events, hosted gatherings and did daily life side by side.  We were there for pregnancy cravings, birthday parties (nearly every weekend in a group with 14 littles under aged 5) births- literally in the room sometimes- there for father's day golfing and mother's day spa-ing (made up word) and holidays in between like July 4th.  I have to be honest, they were so much more fun than our families that we said yes to them and no to family more often than not, which had lasting consequences of course.  I regret that so very much.  I regretted it even more when a couple things went sideways, deception started happening, and lies started being told.  It was toxic at it's finest and my heart began breaking as it all imploded.  It's been years now and things are mercifully forgiven ... we sometimes pass one another at a store, stop and exchange sweet pleasantries but then we part and go about our life as though that depth never existed.  I'll be honest, that part always makes me twinge slightly.  It all changed me, I'm not going to lie. 

I certainly don't trust like I once did, and once I've invited again and again, and pursued and gotten told "No, No, too busy, can't, other plans... " I tend to run away and don't try anymore for fear of more constant rejection.  (Which I realize is totally weird and I should really try and change that.) I have to pretty much talk myself back down and remind myself that life really is probably too busy for them to fit us in... but then (raw honesty) I cry because their life is too busy to fit us in, and ours is often so empty, we have tons of places to fit anyone in, and THEN I'm done because I can only take so many no's before I stop trying.  I can't for the life of me pick it back up once I've had the thought, "Okay, I can take a hint" cross my mind.  Damaged and messy... Oh I hate it but that's raw truth from deep inside my friend-longing heart. 

Years after the great friend implosion as I mentally call it, I began to make new friends and life moved, ever forward.  Last year, a couple relationships ended and I realized today that I'm still in recovery if not right back where I was processing things from a decade ago!  After all this time. 

I still have a few stuck-like-glue girls I could call in a crisis. But that's what most of our friendships have resorted to, since life at this stage is a full out RUN behind our teens/tweens- Crisis intervention only.  It will settle.  I know this. But it's so hard to make new friends at this stage when I don't have all afternoon to sit on a park bench and watch my kids swing while I get to know a local mom.  I was thinking the other day, it feels impossible and borderline creepy to try and make friends at this stage.  For one, everyone seems to kind of already "have their friend SETS".. and for another my avenues for new friend making feel limited to church (still working on that small group)... and maybe the occasional school situation, work, and the pool I swim at. (Which is a whole other ball game and quickly goes from friendly to "whoa back off lady, wiggling out of your one piece in the locker room." Know what I mean? Let's just laugh at that okay?  This has been a heavy one and I'm sorry for that but it does have a few light places so we can trap those and soak them in for just a moment.) (Actually the truth is, I don't even really talk to the people at the pool- They all know each other and visit, I feel like the new kid, too shy to walk up and say hello and they aren't saying hello to me either and now enough time has passed that it's just weird, like I'm the antisocial non-hi-sayer.)

I think this all means one thing.  I'm a basket case!  Or maybe... it just means I'm lonesome and want some balanced friendships but that takes time, which I don't feel like I have, because I want them now... just being honest.  And maybe it also means that trusting others with my heart is a lot harder for me than it actually looks from the outside, since most people think they know exactly what I'm thinking and think I hold nothing back, which isn't strictly true anymore.  I didn't know that about myself until I re-read what I said.  I'll have to think about this some more. And I fear that I could keep writing with all kinds of thoughts on this.  So I'd better stop here for the moment... but I would like to hear what you have to say on friendship!    

If you have any thoughts, encouragement or advice, I'll take it. 


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Thursday, January 15, 2015

...on motherhood, choosing your battles, and Mr. Darcy.

Oh Hi.Remember me?  That person who pops in here occasionally?  I'm still here.. not going anywhere I promise. I have been getting so many sweet messages lately telling me that you're all okay with my blogging less and that you understand this time of life and are happy to visit whenever it works for me.  I can't tell you how much I love that about you!

Okay but I did promise to bring a few cute photos of the hoodlums.  These were a few that we shot on New Years Eve so that I could fill two empty frames that had moved from my bedroom, into the living room for the moment, until my BIG PLAN comes together for that wall.  (Stay tuned on that.  I think Adrain is weakening. Bwahahahaha!) (Actually he already agreed it's just a budgetary discussion at this point.  Y'all know what I mean by that I bet!  Soon.  I can't wait.)
  Ava had just gotten her pixie cut that week and for once in her little tweenage life, she was happy to smile for me.  Oh the heavens rejoiced.  And I KNOW someone out there is laughing because you know exactly what I mean.  I might have taken about 300 consecutive shots simply to commemorate the blessed moment.

She had been asking for pixie cut for at least a year.  I, having visions of spiral perms, split, ratted bangs and sideburns, talked her down from that platform again and again.  I did my best to explain that today's pixie is yesterdays spiral perm but to no avail.

And then she got some Christmas cash in her hot little hand and that was that.  It hit me that just like it was for me, it's ONLY HAIR and dying on that hill wasn't going to win me any points, and at this stage of the game I live strictly for winning points.  Savvy? So in she trooped and out she came looking like the sweetest little version of herself.  It seemed way more "her" than her other cuts so I kind of said to myself, "Well huh... so there!" And that's when it hit me- this was a very good lesson.  It's not always going to go like that, I know that.  But these little people in my care are becoming the future versions of themselves, bit by bit and it's up to me to cheer them on when they win and help them shake it off to a little Taylor Swift when they crash and burn.  I can do that.



 So they are officially taller than me- just BARELY, and I'd like that to remain emphasized.  Their hands and feet are both bigger than mine and I'm just so surprised by all of this even though I knew it was going to happen.  My son ate non stop yesterday from the time he walked in the door until his third dinner when I finally told him enough- quit eating and get something else done!  It's crazy. And funny.  And bittersweet. 

 I bawled last week after counting the years I've probably got remaining with them and realized the number has become very slim all of a sudden.  But then again, it's also such a relief that I can run an errand and not drag cranky toddlers around, bribing them with the free cookie at the grocery store.  So it's all as it should be I suppose.  A balance of sorts.


 We wandered around and enjoyed the icy air, the mossy branches, the quiet of the trees and rush of the waterfalls.  Even better, were the photos I got that spoke exactly as to who my children are, at this time of their life. 


 I immediately printed and framed them.  (And a little side note.  I'd like to say that my fiddle leaf fig is STILL alive.  I just ignore it 99% of the time and then suddenly remember to water it, and it's thriving.  I chopped the top off the other day because it's getting too tall.  I hope that doesn't make it mad... but for now, all is good.  Who knew.  Black thumb girl can grow something finicky for over 6 months!
 Now, before I go let's talk Valentine's stuff... and love stuff.  You all know I adore Pride and Prejudice and especially (swoon) Mr. Darcy.  This is frivolous but in my head I have "Mr. Darcy moments" with my own man all the time. (I don't tell him that's what I mentally refer to them as, but I suppose he will read this, so then he'll know.) It's little things like the fact that he picked up wall anchors for the mirror in our bedroom that he is going to hang. (it was previously where my giant chalkboard is, which is why the big frames are now hanging in my living room, filled with kid faces. I digress.) Or the fact that I brought this huge fruit bowl (which is lacking fruit because Joe eats all dang night) and he just smiled and acted like he totally understood the importance of buying a huge blue bowl from Marshall's even though it wasn't on my list.  I truly love that.  (And it's so pretty I had to show you.)  Do you have these with your man too?  Just those little sweet things they do?  Let's celebrate that (and let them know) this season!
And since we're talking about Mr. Darcy... welcome the newest member to my shop.  This little hand-lettered watercolor Pride and Prejudice quote has completely stolen my heart. (An all black version is coming soon as well.)  You can get yours here. 

It's nearly Friday my friends... enjoy it!
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Monday, January 12, 2015

I love...

I love fuschia fingernail polish.  I love it when my children get into a good conversation with each other.  I love it when my husband comes home at night.  I love lighting a candle and putting Ella Fitzgerald on while I cook on a Friday night.  I love it when my sheets are freshly washed.  I love walking in the door and seeing a sparkling clean island, which is the first place my eyes land.  I love a man who understands the importance of that super cute new fruit bowl that I just had to grab while I was grocery shopping.  I love washi tape and bakers twine and surprises.  I love heavyweight paper with pops of gold foil and I love the soft scratch of a calligraphy pen in the late afternoon quiet.

I love a lot of things, and to commemorate this Valentine's season in which we celebrate our love for the special people in our midst, I made my first ever mini-collection of Valentines-ey art prints.  They are so sweet and you can get yours here until the end of January ONLY.




Okay now that that's out of the way... I wanted to show you a few cute photos of my little hoodlums and our New Year's Eve fun (and I wanted to do it like... a week ago) but I've been so busy the best I can really give you right this minute, is an Instagram collage.  I hope to share a few gorgeous walk-in-the park photos soon, from our New Years Eve day as well.

I had taken the kiddos on a walk and we snapped a few photos that I have loved.  I had two empty frames and needed some new faces in them! (You can see two of them in frames above our denim chair) Later that night, we had a Clue party- in that, everyone dressed up as their favorite Clue (game) character.  Ava was Ms. Peacock.  I was Mrs. White, Joe was Professor Plum and Adrain, after a long day of work, was briefly Colonel Mustard.  Our intent was to invite friends and have a wild party but we ended up not having anyone come and kept things quiet.  And we had creme brulee.  That was my favorite part. 

I honestly can't figure out how life got so busy that I'm averaging a blog every two weeks right now!  I miss connecting with you guys and hope to share a few fun projects (You know me I've always got a few up my sleeve... or in my garage... or on my mind!) soon!  How are all of YOU doing now that it's 2015?  
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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

There was an ugly cry at one point.

I'll be honest- I'm a little tired.  I sat in a coffee shop across from one of my besties yesterday and told her that I don't even really care about the New Year.  I didn't say it in that "tone" like I'm loathing what's to come.  I said it in a sort of softly accepted peace, and a not over thinking it kind of tone.  I don't have a word or a goal or a deep thought about 2015.  What's going to come is fine with me.  I'm going to take it one day at a time.  I might change a few things, and I might not. I'll turn 40 this year and I'll celebrate 20 years of marriage. Some big changes are on the horizon for us and I'm pretty sure I'm coping by laying it all down since I can't control any of it. That's a good place to be in.  
 











 I'm tired mostly, because of the fullness of our December.  It had a few unexpected moments... some challenges and bumps of course.  But at the same time it's included amazing opportunities for my son, some gift purchases for loved ones that made us tingle with joy, some funny moments where we clutched our sides laughing harder than we thought possible.  It's packed in some deeply intense heart to hearts.  Some honest moments in coffee shops with hearts laid bare and stories open.  This month has included day trips, old movies, fudge baking, girls nights, manicures with my mama and cute dresses.  It's been filled with pretty instagrams, memory making, tradition enjoying, picture taking, dance recitals and whispered conversations long into the night.  It's been filled with dreams, anticipation and sweet and salty popcorn.  It's been a month of good hair days having finally hit that certain length which requires little effort.  It's been a December for serving one another, showing love in new and unique ways, staying up late, drinking lattes and running in the rain.  We packed in work, vacation days off and that one precious day where we stayed in bed until 11 am.  We made time for naps, Jesus and family.  We did everything we wanted to do and more.  We did things we didn't want to do because they were important when weighed in the balance. We said no. We said yes. We stayed up late, and went to bed early. We set out to be intentional and we succeeded in almost every area.  We were imperfect yet persistent.  We kept the main thing, the main thing and it mattered.

Then there was the gift.  Adrain and I married young and we struggled hard to make it work being young, broke and lacking any and all life experience.  One could say some of those struggles clouded our entire future, another might say that they colored it.  I tend to lean toward the latter.  I wouldn't change them.  But... being the girly type girl that I am, I did always long to see that quintessential little aqua box with the famous fall-apart white bow someday, and I knew I would cherish that moment more than about anyone I could possibly imagine, in light of my past with this man I love and the places we've traveled together from.  I would have been thrilled with a key chain!  Christmas morning came and suddenly there it was and I had no clue so the surprise shocked me deeply!  My fingers shook, I felt the tears welling up and before I knew it, I was holding this little teal box crying my eyes out.  The kids were trying to get me to open it but I couldn't do it... not yet.  I knew it would be something lovely and simple but it was such a precious moment and I wanted to savor it as long as possible.  In the printed card, my man called me his "lovely archer"... I carefully opened the box without messing up the bow because I didn't want to ruin it. (A girl can be emotional and practical at the same time.)  Inside was the prettiest little arrow necklace... but his words... it was all in his words.  He said, with his chocolately brown eyes smiling at me, "This gift is to encourage you as your raise up our children in this second half of parenthood."  Ugly cry, full on at this point people!!  It was the most precious gift he has given me yet.




I love Christmas seasons like that. As a family, we loved hard, and in the end that's what made this month different than most other Decembers I can remember. January is my least favorite month so we'll be having a quiet little 4 person gathering to ring it in, complete with a disco ball from Party City and glitter-covered sparkling drinks in bottles, and we'll make it fun because our kids like that. What a nice way to end 2014 and welcome 2015.

Happy New Year!! 

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{P.S. for you longtime readers- my kids really don't like me saying too much about them here anymore.  There are several kids, parents of classmates, and even teachers at their school who have found my blog and instagram... which I totally love, but my kids... not so much. {Some of those people found me in social media because my kids told them about me. Guess they didn't think too far ahead on that one. Ha!} That ties my hands a bit as I want to be honoring to Joe and Ava's request for privacy, yet they are part of my life and I do blog on that!  I haven't figured it all out and sometimes they care more than other times... I try to check in with them before I hit publish but I just wanted to mention this in case you've seen a decrease in photos of them and stories that involve them.  Life is funny.  I didn't have to worry about this back in 2008 when I started blogging! And any moms of kids this age who have advice, ideas of tips on how to move forward, feel free to share!}